Advertisement

2017 NFL mock draft: Picks, predictions, updates for AFC East

By Howard Balzer, NFLDraftScout.com
1/3
2017 NFL mock draft: Picks, predictions, updates for AFC East
Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Tim Williams is projected to go to the New England Patriots in the draft. File photo by AJ Sisco/UPI | License Photo

Here's a look at what to expect in the NFL Draft for teams in the AFC East:

Bills

The Buffalo Bills have six picks in the NFL Draft, including No. 10 in the first round April 27 in Philadelphia.

Advertisement

Entering his first draft as a head coach, Sean McDermott and general manager Doug Whaley have had a busy offseason presiding over a roster renovation that has seen 15 players depart since the end of the 2016 season, with 12 newcomers arriving.

However, most important was the restructuring of quarterback Tyrod Taylor's contract and the re-signing of linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. The Bills also matched an offer from the Rams for restricted free-agent center Ryan Groy.

RELATED LeSean McCoy calls 'white boy with clear eyes' Kiko Alonso a bum, disses dad

The most significant loss was cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who signed a huge contract with the division-rival Patriots. That position appears to be the one the Bills will pay close attention to in the draft. A top receiver to play opposite Sammy Watkins would be a welcome addition.

Advertisement

Here is a look at the Bills' five-year draft record with roster tallies reflecting totals as of the end of the 2016 season. Below that are key personnel moves made this year and the team's current needs heading into this draft and our projection for all their 2017 picks.

RELATED NFL Draft 2017 Buffalo Bills: Top needs, suggested picks, current outlook

BILLS' FIVE-YEAR DRAFT BREAKDOWN

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

TOTAL PICKS 9 8 7 6 7

STARTERS 2 1 2 2 1

RELATED NFL Draft 2017 AFC East: Top needs, suggested first round pick for every team

BACKUPS 0 4 2 2 6

OTHER TEAMS 4 2 1 1 0

OUT OF LEAGUE 3 1 2 1 0

RELATED 2017 NFL Draft New York Jets: Top needs, suggested picks, current outlook

TOP 3 NEEDS IN 2017 DRAFT

1. Wide receiver: After losing Robert Woods (Rams; $34M/5 yrs) and Marquise Goodwin (49ers; $6M/2 yrs), the Bills signed four middling free agents. Head coach Sean McDermott believes there is a starter among them, but that's a tough sell. Sammy Watkins needs help and the Bills should try to upgrade at the position.

2. Cornerback: At least the Bills added a few new warm bodies at receiver, but cornerback still lacks depth in talent and numbers, adding only cornerback Leonard Johnson (Carolina). McDermott likes 2016 sixth-rounder Kevon Seymour, but he has to prove he is a starter and there is nobody to play nickel.

Advertisement

3. Quarterback: Tyrod Taylor is back, but if he fails to show tangible progress for a third year, the Bills can get out of his contract extension. The Bills signed journeyman T. J. Yates and the only other backup on the roster is Cardale Jones, a 2016 fourth-rounder. If the Bills think there is a potential franchise QB in the draft, they better take him.

RELATED 2017 NFL Draft New England Patriots: Top needs, suggested picks, current outlook

MOCK DRAFT

Below is list of all six of the Bills' picks, with players suggested by NFLDraftScout.com.

Who would you take? Let us know in comments.

RELATED NFL Draft 2017, Miami Dolphins: Top needs, suggested picks, current outlook

BILLS 2017 Draft (Six picks)

Rd./overall pick: Player selected

1/10: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan (6-3, 209, 4.50)

2/44: Budda Baker, CB/S, Washington (5-10, 195, 4.45)

3/75: Antonio Garcia, T, Troy (6-6, 302, 5.15)

5/156: Jerod Evans, QB, Virginia Tech (6-3, 232, 4.80)

5/171: Marquez White, CB, Florida State (6-0, 194, 4.59)

6/195: Charles Walker, DL, Oklahoma (6-2, 310, 4.96)

Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins have seven picks in the NFL Draft, including No. 22 in the first round April 27 in Philadelphia.

In Adam Gase's first season as head coach, the Dolphins broke through and qualified for the playoffs. Now, they have to continue the ascent and figure out a way to keep improving, hoping to close the gap with the perennial division-champ Patriots.

Advertisement

Most notably, the Dolphins were able to re-sign wide receiver Kenny Stills and also acquired tight end Julius Thomas in a trade from Jacksonville. Gase hopes Thomas can play to the level he did with the Broncos when Gase was the offensive coordinator there.

In the draft, the Dolphins are expected to try and strengthen the offensive line, especially inside, while also adding depth to the pass rush at defensive end.

Here is a look at the Dolphins' five-year draft record with roster tallies reflecting totals as of the end of the 2016 season. Below that are key personnel moves made this year and the team's current needs heading into this draft and our projection for all their 2017 picks.

DOLPHINS FIVE-YEAR DRAFT BREAKDOWN

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

TOTAL PICKS 9 9 8 7 8

STARTERS 1 2 2 5 1

BACKUPS 0 0 2 0 6

OTHER TEAMS 3 3 3 1 0

OUT OF LEAGUE 5 4 1 1 1

TOP 3 NEEDS IN 2017 DRAFT

1. Strong-side linebacker: Head coach Adam Gase wasn't specific on the linebacker alignment at the NFL league meetings, but conventional wisdom suggests Lawrence Timmons in the middle and Kiko Alonso on the weak side. That would leave an opening for a strong-side linebacker. Miami has a few candidates among Koa Misi, Spencer Paysinger and Donald Butler, to name a few. But there's a general feeling an upgrade is needed.

Advertisement

2. Pass rusher/defensive end: This remains a priority. General manager Chris Grier, speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine, said this area would likely be addressed both in free agency and the draft. Look for the Dolphins to acquire such a player in the first three rounds. The group of returnees is led by Cameron Wake and Andre Branch, but among Terrence Fede, William Hayes, Nick Williams and others, more is required to form a reliable rotation.

3. Guard/center: Although the Dolphins re-signed right guard Jermon Bushrod, acquired Ted Larsen and still have players such as Kraig Urbik and Anthony Steen on the roster, they want to build a long-lasting unit. That was part of the reason they traded veteran left tackle Branden Albert to Jacksonville. Given that logic, it would be reasonable to think the Dolphins might want to upgrade at guard while grooming someone at center because Mike Pouncey (back, hip) has been bothered by injuries recently.

MOCK DRAFT

Below is list of all seven of the Dolphins' picks, with players suggested by NFLDraftScout.com.

Whom would you take? Let us know in comments.

Advertisement

DOLPHINS 2017 Draft (Seven picks)

Rd./overall pick: Player selected (*indicates compensatory pick)

1/22: LB Tyus Bowser, Houston (6-3, 247, 4.65)

2/54: DE Jordan Willis, Kansas State (6-4, 255, 4.53)

3/*97: CB Rasul Douglas, West Virginia (6-2, 209, 4.57)

5/166: G Jessamen Dunker, Tennessee State (6-4, 318, 4.98)

5/*178: RB Brian Hill, Wyoming (6-1, 219, 4.48)

5/*184: DT Davon Godchaux, LSU (6-3, 310, 5.27)

7/223: FS Fish Smithson, Kansas (5-10, 201, 4.52)

Jets

The New York Jets have seven picks in the NFL Draft, including No. 6 in the first round April 27 in Philadelphia.

After an abysmal 2016 season, it's difficult for Jets fans to have much optimism for the approaching season. While the draft should obviously upgrade the roster, the question is how much different it will make, at least in 2017.

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall is gone, and the offense needs weapons. The depth at tight end in this draft should make that a priority in the early rounds.

Most important is how the decision-makers will deal with the quarterback situation. The last two drafts have produced Bryce Petty (fourth round, 2015) and Christian Hackenberg (second round, 2016). Geno Smith exited this offseason, and added was journeyman Josh McCown, who is with the eighth team of his career and fourth in the last eight seasons.

Advertisement

Here is a look at the Jets' five-year draft record with roster tallies reflecting totals as of the end of the 2016 season. Below that are key personnel moves made this year and the team's current needs heading into this draft and our projection for all their 2017 picks.

JETS FIVE-YEAR DRAFT BREAKDOWN

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

TOTAL PICKS 8 7 12 6 7

STARTERS 0 2 2 2 2

BACKUPS 1 1 2 3 5

OTHER TEAMS 1 1 2 0 0

OUT OF LEAGUE 6 3 6 1 0

TOP 3 NEEDS IN 2017 DRAFT

1. Offensive line: The Jets probably won't find their much-needed franchise quarterback in this draft, but maybe they can discover one or two guys to protect him. The offensive line is in the midst of a complete overhaul, with only guard James Carpenter remaining from the 2015 season opener. There aren't any can't-miss offensive linemen in the top 10, so don't be surprised if general manager Mike Maccagnan trades down from the No. 6 pick to get his lineman as well as an extra pick.

2. Cornerback/safety: The Jets used to be loaded at cornerback and empty at safety. Now they're in dire need of help at both positions. If Maccagnan stays at No. 6, he should be able to pick from the likes of cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Marlon Humphrey and Chidobe Awuzie or safeties Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker.

Advertisement

3. Tight end: There's de-emphasizing a position, and then there's what the Jets did with the tight end under former offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. Tight ends caught just 26 passes the last two years. A team with as many needs as the Jets probably can't reach for Alabama tight end O.J. Howard early in the first round, but they'll almost surely add a tight end sooner than later.

MOCK DRAFT

Below is list of all seven of the Jets picks, with players suggested by NFLDrafScout.com.

Who would you take? Let us know in comments.

JETS 2017 Draft (seven picks)

Rd./overall pick: Player selected (*indicates compensatory pick)

1/6: FS Malik Hooker, Ohio State (6-1, 206, 4.48)

2/39: DE Charles Harris, Missouri (6-3, 253, 4.82)

3/70: CB Ahkello Witherspoon, Colorado (6-3, 198, 4.45)

3/*107: TE Jordan Leggett, Clemson (6-5, 258, 4.71)

5/150: T Collin Buchanan, Miami (Ohio) (6-5, 316, 5.51)

6/191: RB Corey Coleman, Wisconsin (5-10, 220, 4.57)

7/224: OL Nate Theaker, Wayne State (6-5, 315, 5.41)

Patriots

The Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots have seven picks in the NFL Draft, but their first is not until the third round, when they select No. 72 and 96 overall.

Advertisement

Is it true that the rich get richer? It sure seems that way with the Patriots, even though - at least for now - they will sit out the first two rounds of the draft.

The biggest offseason splash came with the signing of former Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore, but was then followed with a flurry of trades that landed wide receiver Brandin Cooks (Saints), tight end Dwayne Allen (Colts) and defensive end Kony Ealy (Panthers).

Also significant was the re-signing of linebacker Dont'a Hightower and safety Duron Harmon.

Consistency is the franchise's biggest virtue, and that will likely lead to a lot of moving around during the three days of the draft. Write down those current draft positions for the Patriots' seven selections. Chances are at least several will be traded for other picks either this year or in 2018.

Here is a look at the Patriots' five-year draft record with roster tallies reflecting totals as of the end of the 2016 season. Below that are key personnel moves made this year and the team's current needs heading into this draft and our projection for all their 2017 picks.

Advertisement

PATRIOTS FIVE-YEAR DRAFT BREAKDOWN

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

TOTAL PICKS 7 7 9 11 9

STARTERS 1 2 0 3 1

BACKUPS 1 0 3 4 6

OTHER TEAMS 2 1 2 2 1

OUT OF LEAGUE 3 4 4 2 1

TOP 3 NEEDS IN 2017 DRAFT

1. Defensive end: The offseason saw Jabaal Sheard (Colts) and Chris Long (Eagles) depart, while Rob Ninkovich continues to age and show a decline in production. New England could look to add another young edge playmaker with potential to pair with developing star Trey Flowers, who had a breakout second half of 2016 capped by an impressive Super Bowl. Many consider edge players one of the deepest groups in this year's draft.

2. Tackle: With left tackle Nate Solder heading into the final year of his current contract and no logical replacement on the roster, New England could seek tackle depth on draft weekend to protect itself at the position moving forward. After adding to the youth movement on the interior of the line the last few years, the Patriots may need to dig into a tackle class that's not overly impressive.

Advertisement

3. Tight end/running back: The top of the depth chart at tight end is stocked, but Rob Gronkowski and newcomer Dwayne Allen certainly have injury histories. Adding a developmental No. 3 tight end might be enticing. At running back, the team could very well be in line for a young, big-bodied talent to replace LeGarrette Blount in the committee backfield, joining the likes of versatile newcomer Rex Burkhead and James White/Dion Lewis.

MOCK DRAFT

Below is list of all seven of the Patriots picks, with players suggested by NFLDraftScout.com.

Who would you take? Let us know in comments.

PATRIOTS 2017 Draft (seven picks)

Rd./overall pick: Player selected (*indicates compensatory pick)

3/72: DE/OLB Tim Williams, Alabama (6-3, 244, 4.68)

3/96: T Julie'n Davenport, Bucknell (6-7, 318, 5.45)

4/132: RB Wayne Gallman, Clemson (6-1, 215, 4.50)

5/163: CB Shaquill Griffin, UCF (6-0, 194, 4.38)

5/*183): G/C Chase Roullier, Wyoming (6-4, 312, 5.41)

6/200: WR Rodney Adams, South Florida (6-1, 189, 4.44)

7/239: TE Billy Brown, Shepherd (6-4, 255, 4.66)

Advertisement

Now it's your turn. Check NFLDraftScout.com for a list of the top 1,000 prospects in this draft.

Click here to shop from list of 1,000 players.

Frank Cooney and TSX NFL team insiders contributed to this analysis.

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement